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Is Guidance a Divine Gift For the Chosen?

06 November, 2023
Q As-salaamu `alaykum, I am a student currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree. For my Islamic Studies assignment, I chose the topic ‘hidayah because I consider it something very rare these days and I believe it plays a very essential part in preserving and practicing Islam. I was hoping to get some information regarding its definition, its meaning, importance, and how one may get or lose hidayah. Thank you.


Asalamu Alaikum Uzair, 

Please let me congratulate you for such a great question that reflects deep insight and a true desire to seek knowledge.

May Allah purify our hearts from heedlessness and grant us hidayah, ameen! 

First of all, the Arabic word “hidayah” means guidance. The verb “yahdi” means to grant guidance.

Of course, it is Allah who grants guidance to people, thus hidayah is a God-given gift, which He places in the heart of whomever He wants to give guidance. 

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Almighty Allah says in the Quran:

{Lo! the guidance is Allah’s guidance.} (Quran 2:73)

Hidayah is mentioned in so many places in the Quran and the hadith. It is, in fact, this merit that elevates humankind and makes us distinguished from animals.

Thus, the Quran describes those who lack guidance and those who are cut from their Lord as being degraded to the level of animals in the sense that they will be looking only for fulfilling the lusts and needs of the flesh. 

Hidayah is always associated with the spiritual elevation a person feels when Almighty Allah helps him or her offer a good deed or find a way to his/her problems. 

The Quran itself is described, before all, as ‘Huda’ (guidance).

Like the beacon that shows us the way in the darkness, the solace for the agonized hearts, the rope of salvation for a drowning person; hidayah plays a vital role in our lives.

It separates those who lead an animalistic life from those who know their way.

Seek Guidance from Allah

The Quran makes it clear that there are certain conditions and qualifications to gain hidayah.

In the very beginning of Surat al-Fatihah (Chapter 1 of the Quran), believers are indirectly instructed to seek guidance from Allah. Almighty Allah says:

{Guide us to the straight path -The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.} (Quran 1:6-7)

The Quran also clarifies that those who gain guidance and feel its sweetness are not the lazy or the advocates of evil; but they are the pious and the devout, who spend their all for the sake of Allah.

Almighty Allah speaks of the Quran as being ‘hudan li-l-muttaqeen’ (a guidance unto those who ward off – evil.) Simply, because God helps only those who want to help themselves. 

Again, the Quran states that those who seek guidance will be elevated in guidance and given more of it. Thus, two facts are to be considered; hidayah is the divine gift which Almighty Allah gives to whomever He loves and people should be qualified with piety and Allah fearing in order to gain it. 

Of course, people differ in regards to their reception of guidance; some people are ready and fast in achieving guidance while others are too slow.

In a hadith (prophetic tradition), the Prophet (peace be upon him) categorizes people, in respect of receiving and accepting guidance, into three categories: those who benefit from guidance themselves and help others get it, those who just help others but are not able to practice it themselves, and those who are like barren land; they do not accept guidance nor do they help people find it. 

The Ways to Gain Hidayah:

1- Having a deep and strong relationship with Allah, turning to Him for needs and fearing Him in secret, as well as in public.

2- Seeking knowledge and purifying one’s intention for Allah in every word and deed.

3- Strict obedience to Allah and following His commands and teachings.

A Muslim should always be eager to gain hidayah and spend his/her life asking Allah for it.

The one who is granted hidayah is really the successful and the happy person, simply because he/she will find him/herself leading a peaceful life.

For these reasons, seeking hidayah is the command of Allah and His messenger. 

In the Quran, Allah says:

{O you who believe; Obey Allah, and the messenger when He calls you to that which quickens you, and know that Allah comes in between the man and his own heart, and that He it is unto Whom you will be gathered.} (Quran 8:24)

When one of us has a precious stone, he/she will cherish it and look after it all the time.

By the same token, when Allah grants you guidance, then you are gifted with something very precious.

To keep this ni`ma (blessing), a Muslim should always show gratitude to Allah for it, since Allah says:

{And when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks, I will give you more; but if you are thankless, lo! My punishment is dire.} (Quran 14:7)

It is clear that when a person shows thankfulness, Allah will grant him/her more.

Also, showing obedience to Allah is the highest way to keep this blessing of hidayah

So, a Muslim should keep himself remote from disobedience as far as he can so as to gain hidayah, find his/her way and lead his/her life in peace and tranquility.

May Allah purify our hearts and guide us to the best of deeds in this world and success in the afterlife, ameen

Thank you again, Uzair, for your question and please, always keep in touch. 

Walaikum Asalam

(From Ask About Islam archives)

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